December 7, 2017 8:46 pm

Explore Time and Other Dimensions this Friday, with Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Allen Paulos, James Kakalios, and Harrison Greenbaum

This week on StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson is taking you to another dimension – or maybe more than just one! Joined by comic co-host Harrison Greenbaum, mathematician John Allen Paulos, and physicist James Kakalios, we explore time, higher dimensions, and all the weird, mind-bending science that dimensionality brings us.

Time is trippy – StarTalk Radio Cosmic Queries: Time and Higher Dimensions. Credit: mipan/iStock.

Credit: mipan/iStock.

To start, Neil, Harrison and John dive into Edwin Abbott’s book “Flatland” to discuss the awareness beings have of higher dimensions. The two-dimensional creatures in the book have no real awareness of the third dimension, which might be a similar limitation to how humans exist without access to other possible spatial dimensions.

Physicist James Kakalios, author of The Physics of Superheroes (and our guest on our episode of the same name), joins the group to help answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries on dimensionality and more. Of course, you’ll also hear about Interstellar’s use of wormholes and the fifth dimension. I always enjoy when the film Interstellar comes up, because it helps me understand the science of one of my favorite films more, which in turn makes me enjoy the film even more when I re-watch it. You’ll also hear about hypercubes and tesseracts, and James explains how Marvel misused the word tesseract in The Avengers.

However, it’s not all just movie talk. Our group also investigates how dimensionality came into existence as a result of the Big Bang – a concept which still blows my mind – and the idea that we’re prisoners of our three-dimensions – a concept which made me weirdly claustrophobic.

Lastly, our panel ponders what the existence of other dimensions might mean relative to a belief in powerful deities: Could a three-dimensional being be all-powerful in the eyes of a two-dimensional being? Would a four-dimensional being be all-powerful to humans? Is that what Thor is to the people of Earth in the Marvel Universe?

Want to visit a higher dimension? Please join us tomorrow night for Cosmic Queries: Time and Higher Dimensions at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on our channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too. And remember that you can also listen to next week’s StarTalk Radio episode one week early exclusively on TuneIn, at tunein.com/startalk.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen